SumaiL, a pro Dota player, celebrates on-stage at the Riyadh Masters after winning a game with Team Aster.
Photo via Gamers8

SumaiL misses second-straight Dota 2 TI following shock Chinese qualifier elimination

Emperor SumaiL has been slain.

This year’s iteration of Dota 2’s The International will be missing one of the biggest names in pro-Dota as the regional last-chance qualifiers for the pinnacle event finally claimed a major scalp in Team Aster. Following defeats to Xtreme Gaming and Team Bright, Aster won’t be attending TI 12 in October.

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In what was always going to be a brutal last-chance qualifier for the single Chinese spot up for grabs, Team Aster bowed out in back-to-back series on Aug. 19 and 20, leaving the door wide open for the likes of Xtreme or Azure Ray to capitalize—both of whom battled it out in the upper bracket on early Sunday morning.

For Aster, it’s a sorry end to a season of “what ifs.” After closing out 2022 with a top-four finish at The International, many believed the East was gearing up for a true fight after a Western-dominated past few years. Unfortunately, the Chinese squad couldn’t scrape past the quarter-finals at any international event in 2023, and now their season has ended in a whimper.

Crucially, it means another TI on the sidelines for superstar Syed “SumaiL” Hassan, who was succinct on Twitter following the loss to Team Bright on Aug. 19. Whether his Chinese venture comes to an end now is a mystery, as it’s unclear what SumaiL’s plans are ahead of the next DPC season.

Many were perplexed at the midlaner’s decision to head East and link up with Aster in May after a stand-in stint with the squad at the Berlin Major, but a decent start with Aster regionally and top eight finishes at the Berlin Major and at Riyadh Masters showed signs of hope.

Unfortunately, narrow losses yesterday to fourth-seed Xtreme Gaming and division one underdog Team Bright means SumaiL will miss yet another edition of The International after a disappointing 2022 stint with Nigma Galaxy.

Related: Dota 2 TI12 Regional Qualifiers: All results, dates, and how to watch

SumaiL and Nigma fell short of qualifying in an incredibly competitive European TI qualifier last year, with the Pakistani midlaner moving on after a lackluster start to 2023 with the squad. Nigma continued to fall down the ranks after SumaiL’s departure and, while they will begin in the upper bracket in this year’s Western Europe qualifier, they are at long odds to make it to Seattle.

As for new fan favorites Team Bright, they’ll need to overcome division two squad Team Zero, who themselves landed an upset victory over second-seed Invictus Gaming, if they want to keep their Seattle dream alive. Ahead of them awaits Xtreme Gaming and Azure Ray, with just one spot up for grabs at TI alongside fellow Chinese reps PSG.LGD.

The Dota 2 Chinese last-chance qualifier wraps up on Aug. 21 with the grand final kicking off at 1am CT.


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Author
Nicholas Taifalos
Weekend editor for Dot Esports. Nick, better known as Taffy, began his esports career in commentary, switching to journalism with a focus on Oceanic esports, particularly Counter-Strike and Dota. Email: nicholas@dotesports.com